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Teacher salaries compared to how much they pay on school supplies

Due to dwindling public-education funding, public-school teachers sometimes shell out hundreds of dollars for classroom chalk and pencils out of their own pocket.

A dozen states spend less on schools than before the 2008 recession, according to a 2019 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Teachers earn less in 42 states than they did a decade ago.

Read more: Teachers in the US are spending $500 of their own money on school supplies like crayons and chalk, and now they’re turning to a viral hashtag to ask strangers for help

Many public school teachers have taken to social media to ask for help paying their classroom supplies. The viral #clearthelists campaign began last month after teachers asked strangers and celebrities to buy supplies off their Amazon wish lists. Many of these lists include classroom basics like chalk, crayons, and markers.

Business Insider spoke with 31 public-school educators across the country to find out how much of their salary is being spent on school supplies. We asked them to answer the questions, “How much do you make? Do you spend any money on school supplies? If so, how much?”

While the federal government reports that teachers spend an average of $500 on school supplies, some teachers told us they spend as much as $1,000.

Teachers working in public schools in 19 states were included in this list. Some teachers chose to answer anonymously or just use their first name. Business Insider verified all identities with school badges and emails.

These are the responses 31 teachers gave to the survey question “How much do you make?”

[Editor’s note: Some of the responses have been lightly edited for clarity.]

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